ABOUT GROW UP
Grow Up is an online publication dedicated to the exploration of youth on screen, in all its forms.
Founded and run by two old friends who met and bonded over their mutual love for teen drama shows, we believe that films and television are an important aspect of growing up. The visual content we consume shapes how we see the world, each other and most importantly, ourselves. On-screen representation is powerful, but with that comes the need for mindful critique. When done right, they can help guide us, make us feel less alone or give us something to dream of and even aspire to.
Our use of the term ‘teen screen’ is inspired by the work of Athena Bellas, who uses the term to explore teen film and television as sites of power. As a genre, teen film and television is not taken seriously. Many tend to discard it all as empty fodder for mindless adolescents, who only care about over-saturated aesthetics and outrageous (even recycled) plots. This ignores the impact teen and coming-of-age genres have on audiences (teen or otherwise), and neglects to consider what messages they possess about what it means to be and feel young. This is especially important when we consider which perspectives are traditionally allowed to be given space on screen, and which voices continue to be underrepresented.
While similar, universal themes occur across coming-of-age narratives, Grow Up believes no one experience of growing up is the same. This site is a place where a wide range of diverse voices can contribute to the discussion around youth, screen and coming-of-age. We aim to explore (and challenge) what a coming-of-age narrative looks like, expanding the notion of extended adolescence, and that we never really stop growing up.
Odalis Garcia Gorra is a writer and communications specialist currently based in her home city of Miami. She grew up watching way too much TV from telenovelas to the Disney Channel, and she has not quite outgrown her love for anything from The CW. Odalis has a Masters in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism + Design from The New School. Her academic research pays particular attention to Latinx spiritualities and pop culture, and for her graduate thesis at Harvard, Odalis focused on the rising popularity of Instagram brujas, their social justice activism, and their creation of digital sacred space.
She has passionately written about culture and identity, especially as it intersects with visual art and media. Her poetry, non-fiction, and journalism work has been featured in Palabritas, Anxy Magazine, WLRN, Ambulante and Latino USA. She has written three (3) academic papers on Jane the Virgin and has very strong feelings about Cuban food, empanadas, and the salsa dancing emoji.
Claire White is a writer, bookseller and teen film scholar/tragic based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. Claire has a degree in Screen and Cultural Studies from The University of Melbourne. She returned in 2019 to spend the year in a deep dive into teen film scholarship and girlhood studies, completing a first class Honours thesis with a focus on Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and depictions of girlhood on screen.
In 2018, she was a participant for the Melbourne Women in Film Festival inaugural Critics Lab for female film critics, and the esteemed Melbourne International Film Festival Critics Campus. In 2020, she briefly ran a column about the representations of youth on screen for Junkee called TEEN SCREEN. She is a founding member of online film journal Rough Cut and her film writing and interviews have been published by Vogue Australia, Senses of Cinema, Junkee, The Big Issue, Screen Queens, Screen Education and 4:3, as well as appearing on the ABC for film news. She once convinced her mother that she named her after Molly Ringwald’s character in The Breakfast Club, and has been dyeing her hair red ever since.